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Monday, September 20, 2010

Food for my Maman

First of all, my mom confessed to me that she's been reading my blog, so Hi Mom! This entry's for you!

Ok so when I have or usually tell American people (who are not living in France) where I live and what I'm doing, one of the most common comment is "Oh my God! The food must be amazing!" And, depending who it is, I smile politely, or blurt out "I cook for CHILDREN. They hate everything good."

So my food experiences occur in two different places, in my kitchen, when I decide to try a new recipe from my American cook book, or when S teaches me how to make something French, like quiche, or zuchinni soup. She has also introduced me to her version of the gateau chocolat which is unbelievably rich and yummy, and disgustingly easy to make. I'll share.
Note-I'm not into doing things like "measuring" or "making things with the same ingredients each time." I'm a bit of a rogue, mainly because I'm too absent minded to ever remember everything at the grocery store. (Thanks Mom, I get it from you). Oh yeah, its going to be in metric, I will be do my best to remember American conversions.

200 grams or about 7 oz Dark Chocolate, or Semi Sweet as it may be called in the USA
Same amount of UNSWEETENED butter.
200 ml of sugar
4 heaping table spoons of flour
2-3 eggs
and about a teaspoon of Sodium Bicarbonate, depending on if you have a meddling mother looking over your shoulder.

Oven to to 375 F or 190 C. This recipe doesnt make enough for more than one cake pan, so I just use an eight (or is it nine?) inch one. I know, it sounds like I'm skimping, but its so rich, you just need a tiny bit. Get a saucepan to medium heat and melt together butter and chocolate. Let cool, wait a few minutes (if you DONT do this, and try to add the eggs, the might poach. I learned this the hard way.) Anyway, after it cools down add the sugar. I really want to say its about a cup, but I cant remember. Add in the eggs, three should make the cake slightly fluffier, in my experience, and I almost always use three. Add the flour. Pour batter in greased cake pan, and bake between 20 and 25 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. Give batter to children to eat up, and hope no one gets e coli.

How I feed myself outside of my own kitchen-
So, if you're like me, and you leave your house Friday and dont come back until Sunday, you will, at some point have to eat. If you're also poor like me, there's no way in hell you are going to spend between 15 to unspeakable amount of euros on food. Thats like six meals. In fact, if you're REALLY broke you'll do what we do.

Hit up the Monoprix, the Franprix, or anywhere else they sell food. Baguette is usually going to run you about 90 centimes, a wedge of brie is about 1.50 and if you're feeling really ritzy, ham is about 2 euros. Less that four euros for a meal that can feed two people. Throw in a bottle of water, or wine, a sweet spot in Parc Luxembourg and you're looking at a lovely cheap picnic, full of glorious memories (or not so much, depending how much wine you drink).

Some variations of this meal (which I eat, like at least twice a weekend) include saucisson or chorizo, sometimes turkey if we can find it, and occasionally emmental or camembert in place of brie. If I'm with Tatiana, we are probably buying minizzas, which are like pizzas in cracker form.

If you're feeling ritzy there are a few other really cheap food options. Number one, you guessed it-Sanwich Grecs! Theyre everywhere, and will usually run you about 5 euros for a sanwich and frittes. The cleanliness runs from clean to the-only-reason-I-would-ever-eat-here-is-because-its-4am. But mostly they're decent.

Paninis-Sold everywhere. In Saint Michel I think they run about 3.50, but I think I've seen them as cheap as 2.50. These things are worth mentioning because I usually opt to splurge on a Panini when its cold, versus ham sandwiches, for obvious reasons. Plus the three fromage ones are so on point and bad for you its not even funny.

And the last cheap food worth mentioning is of course the infamous CREPE. Don't be a fool and pay 7 euros for one from a take a way stand. They should be no more than 5 for a salee, aka salty one. (We recently saw this on Grand Boulevard, I almost threw up, 8 euros for a crepe! Come on!) I guess people might think of Crepes as a sweet kind of thing, and they exist (Nutella and banana is a crowd pleaser, but strawberry confiture is UNBELIEVABLE). They also have such yummy salty versions such as, fromage and jambon, or cheese and egg, and some with Tuna, and a hundred other kinds I cant remember.

Anyway, that's what I usually end up eating France.

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